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Produced by the Highway Safety Foundation in 1964,
this shocking film deals with a subject quite taboo
for its time. The short serves as a dramatized warning,
ending with graphic case studies. Unlike the driver's education
films produced by the same company, this film was apparently
issued for only a short time before being withdrawn.
**CONTENT ADVISORY: Crime scene footage at end will upset some people**
This movie is part of the collection: Sci-Fi / Horror
Production Company: Highway Safety Foundation
Sponsor: CFH3 Media, LTD.
Audio/Visual: 16mm sound, color
Keywords: educational; social issues; criminal
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|The Child Molester (1964)||
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|The Child Molester (1964)||
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I am 50 years old, saw this in elementary school in either 1st or 2nd grade; had nightmares because of it for quite awhile. What I remembered the most from this film were the shoe floating down the creek at the end, and the bodies - I was totally shocked. For all of these years I have wondered if those were real images they showed at the end; when I was a child I thought that they were, and it scared the crap out of me, so now after finding this and viewing it at least I know the truth and don't have to wonder any more - they were real bodies. I have to say this was very inappropriate material to show to elementary school age children. No wonder I had bad dreams for years. But I'm glad I found it so I know I'm not crazy and didn't imagine the whole thing. If this were shown in elementary schools now, someone would probably sue the administration for showing it and causing emotional distress to children. It definitely made me afraid to talk to strangers.
Subject: One Thing Forgotten
They didn't mention that parents shouldn't dress their children in revealing/sexy clothing. The girl in the pink sundress was inexcusable.
Children shouldn't be dressed in a manner that reveals their legs or buttocks, or that has a revealing neckline or other adult and sexual overtones.
Saw this film in 1977 in the lunch room of my elementary school. It scared the shit out of me and actually influenced me to be silent rather than speak up about some trauma I had experienced, out of fear of being killed. I had nightmares on and off for years as a child because of this film. I thought to look it up on youtube because of the Sandusky case to see if what I had remembered about it was true. I always remember the girl running and scenes of her being chased through the woods and this voice talking about what happens when she tries to tell or get away and then her body being turned over in the water. I was afraid of all men, as a child, after seeing this film. It was presented without parents knowledge and without any feedback. I would never allow my child to watch something of this nature. Glad to read the feedback of others who saw this as a child and had similar reactions.
I saw this movie when I was 6 years old and had never even had to deal with the death of a pet! I was totally traumatized. I remember this was the time of The Zodiak Killer in California! I went from being the most innocent little girl to barely being able to go next door to play. My sister and I were so scared of being murdered that we would practice screaming because honestly sometimes we were so frightened we would open our mouths to scream and nothing would come out! I am now approaching 50 and for some reason today that image of the bloody shoe floating down the river popped into my head as it has periodically during my life. I had to look it up to make sure it was for real! Do any of you remember those hands we made in school that people would put in their windows? If you had anybody try to get you it was understood that you could just run into any house displaying the hand and they would help you. I think there are better ways to educate your kids about molestation.
Subject: the most damaging film ever!
This relates to only about 10% if all Child molesters. The fact they neglect is that over 80% of child molesters either live in the home or are know personally by the child or the children's family because they are a part of the family or friend of the family. About 5% of child molesters are preditors, and the child dies in the molestation, the other 5% are strangers who would not intentionally hurt the child and the child survives. The last 10% are children themselves. this film never warns about these other dangers, and gives the impression that it only happens to girls. Boy out rank girls as victims of molesting by about 5%.
This is why it was recalled and why this film should not be shown as a teaching tool.
it never touches on the child who cries him/herself to sleep because Daddy wakes them up and does unspeakable things!
The ending scene is actually the rarity to all molestation cases!
Our school showed this in 1977, when a serial killer was in the area killing kids my age. ("Oakland County Child Killer" - never caught.)
Like others have mentioned, the final crime scenes of this film are seared into my memory.
Man, that was a terrifying time to be a kid.
Kashmir Page -
Subject: What Disturbs Me The Most
I give this film four stars because I'm taking into consideration that it was made in the 1960s. However, there were things that bothered me about it. No, I'm not talking about the police footage at the end; I think its important for parents and children alike to see this and realize that it can happen if precautions aren't taken. What disturbs me is the way some of the information was presented.
When I was growing up in the 1970s, I was not allowed to play in the street or walk to a playground or a friends house after school, or go anyplace that was lacking in adult supervision. At the time, other kids thought my parents were over protective. Now more and more parents are reluctant to let a child walk to the corner convenience store, even in the company of a friend, and rightly so.
I was never told to "be polite to the man when they asked for directions, but never get into the car with them, and just say no thank you if they offer you candy." I was told never to talk to them! Period! I was ordered to turn and run if approached by anybody I didn't know, and to scream bloody murder if they tried to follow me! Also (and when I was growing up in the 1970s it was considered prudent to leave children nine years or older at home alone fifteen or twenty minutes at a time), I was told to lock the house up like a tomb when left alone, and if anybody rang the doorbell, never, ever to answer it, or even let the person know I was in the house! Being polite to anybody wasn't even a consideration, unless the person identified themself, and it had to be a relative before I could even talk to them.
The film assumes that the child molester is male, and somebody the child doesn't know. I think most people realize now that the molester can be either male or female, anywhere from 14 to 99 years old. True, they can be a stranger, but it can also be somebody the child knows and has grown to trust. They can be anybody really: a clergyman, a policeman, a family friend, an uncle, an aunt, or even a parent. It's sad, but it's true.
The subject of playing with stray animals is another safety issue in itself. However, a section on how these vile predators may use an animal to try to lure a child into a compromising position would be extremely relevant!
The film also assumes that 99% of the responsibility of warning children about predators lies with the parents. I'll agree that they should hear it first from the parents, but schools have a moral obligation to step in where parents fail. Protecting children isn't just a parent's job. Its everybody's job!
Subject: Drives it home!
I saw this film in probably 1980, at safety town. I was 4. It was dramatic but not traumatizing. I'm 34 now and decided to watch it because I it came up on a discussion board on our town, Mansfield, Ohio. Thus is where these girls were raped and murdered. The bloody shoe in the creek, and her trying to hide in the woods were the images I remember most. I'd asked several people if they had seen this, and was beginning to think I was the only one who remembered it! Even a few years back when my kids went to safety town, all the young volunteers thought I was crazy! Lol. I didn't have nightmares, and I definitely was aware of strangers and my surroundings in general. I showed my girls this video. They are 11&9. And I don't think they realized that they were seeing actual footage, but were taken aback because it happened in our community. I think it should still be shown to children because unfortunately there are many parents that do not warn their kids of the worlds dangers.
Subject: Prudent info at the time
I live in the community where these two little girls were abducted and murdered. I think at the time parents and society did not see child molestation as common. The subject was not discussed as it should have been. I applaud the filmmakers for making this movie and trying to help save children from the fate these two little girls endured. Yes, it is graphic. I am sure the children that saw this movie in school in the sixties were scared and that's fine because at least they were aware of the danger that is lurking around every corner for children. Whether those of you that said it scarred you and gave you nightmares realize it or not you remembered to stay away from strangers and strange places. I think the parents should have watched it with their children. These crimes depicted in this film were above horrible and children in this community are still told about the little girls at North Lake Park to teach them to stay away from strangers and danger. God Bless the families of these little girls and may we all learn something from this movie.
Kelly Long -
Subject: OMG.... That was ME !!! ... LOL!
Talk about a BLAST FROM THE PAST... I was the young girl in this movie who was "lost" at a street corner, got spooked by the man who approached me, and ran across the street to tell the motorcycle police officer (time-lapsed reading while watching the film was 15:51). I was born in 1951 and was 13 the Summer this film was made. I'd been active in Mansfield, Ohio Little Theatre and apparently was "discovered" by the Highway Safety Foundation during a performance in the play, "The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker". Two adult brothers, Stan and Stu, (I'll not disclose their last name here) who were family friends, fellow churchgoers, and affiliated with Mansfield Little Theatre as well, were also recruited to play roles in the movie. I'm now 60 years old... and as I sit here, all these years past, I can still vividly recall the actual experience of participating in the film. Mostly, I think, because I was aware of the deaths and surrounding circumstances of the two little murdered girls at North Lake Park, where my mother had many times taken we three children to feed the swans and go to the old wood-framed roller skating rink before it burned. It was also was the first Summer following President Kennedy's assassination and even though only 13, I had a vague, uneasy sense that the world had forever changed ~ the prevailing, comfortable societal mindset of innocence and naivete we'd shared as a nation up until that point simply was no more... and never more would be.
I never saw the film after it was made... until, 14 years later, I became the first female Mansfield Police Patrol Officer and was sent to take Basic Training at the Ohio State Patrol Academy in Columbus, Ohio. Much to my dismay, I saw that "The Child Molester" was scheduled to be shown at a class assembly, and clearly remember cowering in the darkened room as the film was shown, praying I would not be recognized. Then, from somewhere behind me, I heard a fellow Cadet utter the dreaded words, "Oh, my gawd... that's Long! I'd know those skinny legs anywhere!" Sheesh....
ANYWAY... this is the second time I've now stumbled into viewing this film... I'm AMAZED it is still out there! Thanks for the Blast from the Past... AND a head-ups to keep my skinny legs covered if I've to this day any hope of maintaining my real-time anonymity! < grin! >
jesus...i was born in 1964 and this may sound naive but i didnt think you had to worry about sickening pedophiles back then (at any rate not like now know the sick bastards have always been around). I didnt see this in school easy to see why they pulled it. Found it very frank considering the time it came out and the scenes at the are pretty unsettling so i really cant imagine them showing this to kids.
Midwest Boomer -
Subject: Hauted by this since I was a kid....
I was amazed to find this online. I remember being shown this in maybe the thrid grade? I like the bad sound on this renditition because it evokes the experience of stiing in the classroom with those noisy projectors running.
It made me recall everytime we had a movie or a film strip, it meant the lights would be lowered and being a great opportunity for horseplay. This movie is classic for its bad acting, creepy tone, and ham-fisted approach. We goofed on all of that until the over-the-top actual footage was shown, which about made us all sick. And the ending with the little blood stained shoe floating down the creek!
Say what you want, but this sure as heck got our attention. Sometime after this was shown, there was an attemped abduction of two younger boys at our small-town school --and they managed to get away.
As a parent, its hard to imagine this clip being shown to grade school kids today, especially in the "Oh boy, a movie!" environment we had going on.
What a great piece of history to be preserved - my compliments on having this availalble.
Subject: Meant for the parents!
This film certainly can be disturbing for anyone, let alone young children. It goes way overboard if it's meant to be shown to kids (as it apparently was), but it sems to me the target audience were the parents. The narrator's warnings were addressed to the adults. He didn't just instruct kids what to do and not to do, he instructed parents how to instruct their own. So, for an ault audience this movie isn't too harsh, but I think it's inappropriate for children, especially such young ones as the other reviewers have written they were when they saw it, which is probably why it was eventually pulled. Scare tactics are never the answer. Even the goddamn movie's message is that kids need to be well prepared and warned by their own parents! The narrator says something to the effect that parents should not trust all aspects of their children's eductation to other people, such as teachers, so that would definitely exclude a gruesome film meant for adults such as this one.
Subject: Never Saw It -- And Glad of It
In the mid '60's when this film was out I was in the lower grades in the midwest -- Indiana & Kansas. I never ran into this and am rather glad I didn't. Warnings and less graphic movies are fine but stuff that graphic probably still isn't appropriate for kids in the range of 5 to 10 years old. It certainly wasn't appropriate back then, as a lot of these comments attest. Personally, I had plenty of other problems without these nightmare scenes haunting me.
In and of itself it's a fairly well-executed film, but the use it was put to was wrongheaded or at least not well thought out. Taking all that into consideration I'll give it 3 stars.
Subject: The Bodies at the End
If anyone is interested in the story surrounding the two bodies shown at the end of this film, I have published a section of my research on this film and the Highway Safety Foundation here: http://bit.ly/eJkYxn
Subject: Can't decide
I was assaulted with this movie when I was a child. I don't think I had any idea what a child molester was, and the sexual aspect didn't register with me at all. I acutely remembered the imagery, especially the little girl's white shoe and sock being clearly visible against the foliage as she tried to hide, and, of course the floating shoe, and it banging to a stop as it hits the water's edge. Either they didn't show us the real dead children in the movie I saw, or I blocked it completely from my mind. It was a surprise to see that shocking footage when I sat through the movie again after ~40 years. At the time, the movie did make me think a lot about death, and terrified my dreams - I woke up many a night in a cold sweat for some time afterward. And it did get its message across about not talking to strangers. One weird thing: I must have heard the song "Let's go fly a kite" just before or after this movie was shown to me. To this day, whenever I hear that song, those images, and especially the stomach-churning, chilling fear of death come right up to the surface and punch me right in the face (and gut). I heard that damn song again last night by chance, so I googled this web site today. I can't decide if the fact that this movie serves a useful purpose (it certainly made me wary of adult strangers) makes it worth scaring the hell out of children and causing unpleasant memories throughout life. I do know that for forty years I've been asking myself why that little girl didn't hide more deeply in that bush to better hide herself. I still want to call out to her a warning...
Dr Feel Rotten -
Subject: Horrible movie
Yet more scare tactics so our kids will be terrified of every man walking anywhere, even those who would never dream of harming a kid.
I know one girl who was so scared when a man in the neighborhood stopped to help her cross a busy street she ran directly into traffic and was run over all because she was told to not trust "strangers"..EVER. Not trusting that stranger cost her her life.
Ban these irresponsible scare tactic movies.
I remember watching this in the first grade in Abilene Texas and I was terrified for years. I still think about, obvisously enough to google it. I am 45 now and it still scares me.
Subject: THe child molester
I think that everyone should have their children watch this film. It is an excellant film on what could happen to our children.
Subject: Worth a Look-See
The audio in this film badly needs to be cleaned up.
I also was in elementary school in the 60s, and I don't recall seeing this film. I'm glad I didn't see it at the time, because I'm sure I would've been traumatized as others were (as a kid, I could hardly watch film-strips with crude hand-drawn human anatomy stills, let alone actual corpses of children!)
It's interesting that warning children about child molesters is tied to sex education (see the blackboard drawing of what I assume is a fetus in utero), and also to general safety guidelines; the latter seems far more appropriate now.
Nonetheless this is an interesting film with definite shock value towards the end. I'm giving it just two stars because of the terrible audio.
Like most of the posted reviews, I too saw this film while in the 1st grade in Houston, Texas and it had a major impact on me as a child. The area I lived in was surrounded by heavily wooded area's and I could walk out my back door into woods that stretched for miles. I along with the neighborhood kids would frequent them as our playground. Needless to say, after this film it took months for me to even venture into the woods with friends, even longer for me to enter them myself. The two images that stood (still do) out were of the beaten and deceased girls and the shoe floating down the creek. While it did keep me from talking to strangers, it really did do a number on me. As I grew older I would mention the film and found NO ONE had ever watched or even heard of it. It got to the point that I started thinking it was all just nightmare or something concocted in my head. Then for me to stumble upon it after 40 some odd years!? Wow!!! I watched it and wasn't sure it was the same film UNTIL I saw the broken bloodied nose of the child, and the clincher, the SHOE FLOATING DOWN THE CREEK!!! Again, all I can say is WOW. In retrospect I'm glad I had the opportunity to watch it as a child, as I'm absolutely certain it kept me from EVER talking to strangers, much less taking candy or anything from them.
I'm just happy it was real and I didn't imagine this horrific film. I think it should STILL be shown, trauma notwithstanding.
Subject: the child molester
this film is very relevant today; except for the clothing, i don't think they mentioned anything hysterical or incorrect. the only thing i always feel should be told to children is an adult should NEVER ask for help from a child. there is nothing an adult needs to know that another adult would be unable to supply and if another adult is hesitant, there is NO reason to be asking it of a child.
i was ill-prepared for the very end which i think makes the warnings of this film stick in your head.
Subject: Not for CHILDREN!
I saw this in 1969 as a first grader. After school, I went home and laid on the sofa the rest of the afternoon with a stomach ache. I told my mother about the movie, and she totally didn't believe me. It scared the crap out of me, and I can't belive that I've now seen it 40 years later, and it is still very very disturbing. I searched for this film for years, thinking that the name was "Strangers" or something with Stranger in the title. My younger brother never had to watch it, as they pulled kiddie showings in 1970 so he was spared the nightmares. I remember the shoe floating down the creek-the image (other than the "crime scene" photos) that disturbed me the most, because we had a creek in our neighborhood where all the kids played, all the time. This film is definitely not for kids.
Subject: This Film is a Necessity!
I have read all of the reviews thus far, and I am sorry that some of you object to this film. I saw it when I was in first grade in the 70's (I live in Iowa). I, too, remember it like it was yesterday, mainly because of the haunting images at the end. But I tell you what--I GOT IT and NEVER tried my luck with strangers. I remember in my teenage years I was offered a ride by some guy when I was out for a walk; he was a good-looking "older guy" (well, maybe too old to be exciting to a teenager), but anyway, thanks to that film I was terrified of creeps and declined his offer. That guy was up to no good, and maybe I would have known that without having seen "The Child Molester." I now have three young children. I had watch this film several times and use it as a reference when reminding them how serious stranger danger is. BTW, I also had them watch the red light green light meeting strangers film (which we saw at the same assembly back in elementary). Folks, this film is a keeper and needs to be repaired and reproduced. I have put a link to it on Facebook. Whoever is responsible for posting it on the Internet--thank you and God Bless you!
Subject: The Child Molester (1964)
I am glad to know I was not the only child who experienced extreme fear, nausea, and weeks of being afraid to go outside from watching this horrific movie. I was more afraid of something happening to my little sister and brother, this movie should have never been shown to young kids.
And most parents were not even aware of the ghastly crime scene photos. I am all for educating kids about danger etc., but there has got to be a better way than this movie! thanks for the chance to vent, I have remembered this movie for 30+ years!
Subject: captured in horror
this film leaves me in awh!! This film tells things how they are and the pictures and the end bring me to tears...please view my site www.angelhands.us regarding child molestation. I was approached once at the age of 11 walking to school but luckily it didn't feel right to get in the car and i ignored the person and he left. Unfortunately i did not escape that from home being molested by my older brother...I am so glad this film has surfaced again I really wish this awarness was spoken out today..Tabboo that's what is calledn why because people will hope that this type of thing would just go away if not talked about or that childeren will just somehow know what to do when there mentality is to trust. I will defenitly share this with my blog viewers and post on "My Space" so like myself not take this type of education to childeren is followed along with 'crossing the street, ect.' "Survival Skills for Your Child" is what this needs to be called. Make childeren aware of the dangers from strangers and family...
Subject: shock and awe
The film was hideous to me at the time - 3rd grade circa 1966.
It is anachronistic and severely dated, but the theme and the terror of the ending transcend space and time, and the message is all too familiar and frightening.
This film changed my life around (perhaps forever) because of the neighborhood that I lived in and the fact that my parents used to send me on "errands" to stores at the nearest "street corner".
I would be very careful about really young children viewing this film - shock and awe are not necessarily the sole province of war. Shock and awe can be at our very doorstep.
I can't believe I finally came across this film that traumatized me for most of my 3rd grade year. It was 1977 and after the PTA viewed this film they decided the student body should see this film! I don't remember if 1st or 2nd graders were there but the 3rd graders sure were. We had already been subjected to a year or two of Patch the Pony, a cartoon character from a filmstrip who cautioned us, "Nay, nay from strangers stay away!" I guess they were afraid some of us still weren't getting it and they decided to drive the point home with "The Child Molester". I was absolutely terrorized by this movie. Already at the beginning of the film I am worried for the girls and recall I couldn't believe they fell for the oldest trick in the book:Candy from a stranger! I was mad at the old lady who witnessed the kidnapping and the girl who knew not to accept the candy from the stranger for not warning the girls and then spending her afternoon window shopping and daydreaming before she reports what she saw happen.
The thing about the crime scene that struck me the most after seeing it again is that I remembered the street being FILLED with blood-literally, TO THE CURB. Also, that the shoe floating down the stream at the end was actually floating in the girls' BLOOD. As a 9-year old I obviously could not properly process what I was seeing because I was totally TRAUMATIZED!
Our school was already doing a good job warning us to stay away from strangers but showing us this film was like taking care of a termite infestation with dynamite. I feigned illness for weeks so I wouldn't have to go outside at lunchtime. When they finally got me to go outside to the playground my eyes were constantly scanning the area for potential stranger infiltration. I didn't want to play outside at home, either and my Mom finally asked me what was the problem and I told her. That stupid film, "The Child Molester"! (She complained to the school and it was never shown to the students again.)
So, I am fascinated by this film because of the profound impact it had on my childhood and glad I finally got to see it again as an adult so I could put it in the proper perspective. Yes, the acting is terrible but the subject matter is serious and disturbing and it still impacts me as an adult.
Subject: Passion, misunderstanding and misinformation
While this item has certainly stirred the passions of reviewers, there is a fundamental misunderstanding that really should be addressed. This film was never intended to be viewed by children and, of course, should never have been shown to children. This film was produced as a cautionary tale for parents to be exhibited at PTA meetings, neighborhood safety groups (like today's block watches) and similar audiences.
The tragic misinformation here is that while molestation by strangers is certainly a very real danger, the US Department of Justice reports that strangers were the offender in just 3% of sexual assaults against victims under age 6 and 5% of the sexual assault of victimizations of youth ages 6 through 11.
In the vast majority of molestation cases, the victim knew or was related to the attacker. Learn more at the California Department of justice web page entitled www.meganslaw.ca.gov/facts.htm, Facts about Sex Offenders
Subject: amazing film
I find this film so amazing I hardly know where to begin. One thing I might say right off is: the ending is not the only place that can be potentially triggering. I found I could stomach the crime scene pretty well, but the part where the bad guy actually catches up with the girl and she screams her head off had me screaming, crying and retching.
My wife and I have taught our kids all these concepts emphatically, from an early age. While this film does harshly what I feel we did a little more gently, it is nonetheless one of the few examples of this correct and important principle: children can handle the truth and need to know enough to protect themselves. If 100 children feel traumatized by the film but one life is saved, that might not be such a bad deal.
I gave a high rating not so much for the quality of the film itself, but for its uniqueness, the importance of the topic and this historic film's miraculous availability.
Seen worse. Feel sorry for the victim, poor girl.
Bronx Boy -
Subject: That's kind of the point....
This film is a clear example of what ephemeral films were in the 60's. I didn't see it then, but watching now for the first time was quite shocking and disturbing. However there have been a lot of comments about the films message and dialog. IMHO if people are questioning the validity of the dialog - and it is homophobic - then they are missing the point as why this film is on this site. That is the whole reason why it's here - if it were well made and virtuous it would have been preserved for future generations of kids. This film is a great artifact of the time and reflects the arcane (and frankly distorted) views of the film's producers. Its a great piece of scare film history. IMHO if people are questioning the validity of the dialog - and it is homophobic - then they are missing the point as why this film is on this site. I guess I just love campy films like this one.
Subject: Stranger danger?
There's another side of this business of drilling it into our kids to be terrified of strangers. A couple of years ago in California three kids wandered off from a family campground and got lost in the woods. A massive search went on to no avail. It seems the kids had all been carefully taught to run in terror whenever a stranger spoke to them and that the whole world was evil and they needed to protect themselves from it at any cost. So whenever the searchers came near them, they did what they were trained to do around strangers--they ran and hid. They successfully managed to avoid their rescuers for a week, until they were so near death that they couldn't hide any more. Luckily they were found. A couple of hours later they would have died rather than talk to a stranger.
Subject: 3rd grade nightmare
I've had very disturbing is dreams about this movie for 40 years. It was also the first time I remember seeing adults outside my family cry. Everyone from the janitor to the lunch lady stood for over an hour after the end sobbing and staring that 1000 yard stare.
really bad idea to show that to 10 yr. olds with no warning or at least cut it short.
Subject: Stranger Danger
I remember seeing this fascinating video clip in around third or fourth grade, but I thought it was entitled "Stranger Danger." I can't believe this movie is still out there!! It always impacted me, especially at the end with the clips of the dead little girls eerily floating in the swamp, and the striking black and white footage. That's just something in my mind that I will never forget. I remember telling my mom about it but she didn't believe me and said "they wouldn't have ever let you kids watch something like that at school." (yeah, right mom). I let my daughter (9) watch it and explained to her that some people just like to hurt, touch, and even kill little kids--she's pretty tough, but I also think that it truly made her realize that not all people are truly nice in this world, no matter how "nice" they may seem, and will do or say anything to get you into their car. Yes, it was low grade and cheesy, but it definitely got the point across. Sometimes we need a memory like at the end of that video to sear an impression onto our souls to increase our awareness that child molestation/rape is serious business and there are definitely weirdos out there that actually get off on hurting our precious children (I personally think that people that can harm a child for kicks are demon possessed).
Subject: POORLY MADE TRAUMATIZING EXPLOITATION CRIME FILM FOR KIDDIES
Stumbling upon this nightmarish little film on the internet sent shivers down my spine. I couldn't believe I was about to watch the movie that not only scared the hell out of me as a child, but altered my sleepy habits for years and changed the way I viewed the world up to that time. I was 7 years old when I first saw this film and I've never forgotten it. Strangely enough, even as an adult and 40 years later, I am still hesitant to watch it. Many people have a film that scared the wits out of them when they were young, whether it was the Wicked Witch in THE WIZARD OF OZ or the Child Catcher in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG. For me, this 16mm flick WAS THE FILM!
I actually saw this poorly made exploitation "educational" kiddy instructional film on two occasions in elementary school. One time with the crime scene footage included and one time without. I was in the second grade in 1967 when CHILD MOLESTER was shown in the school cafeteria for grades 2 through 7. The lunchroom was packed. Like alot of films that where shown in the school auditorium (Disney's POLLYANNA being one), students had to get permission from their parents by way of a signed permission slip in order to see the film. Back in 1967, I'm sure my mother (like alot of parents) had no idea what they were signing when allowing their children to view this horrifically misguided cheap and irresponsible little film. In 1964, when this film was originally made, all public films were generally safe to view, certainly instructional and educational ones. Even the MPAA rating system for theatrical films didn't exist. Educational films were shown frequently in school, but none with the content that this one had. Up to that time, as a 7 year old, I believed the world to be a wondrous safe place and the adults in it to be generally good and kind. THIS FILM CHANGED ALL OF THAT FOREVER!
At the end of the school day and in the lunchroom auditorium, a Police Officer introduced the film prior to it being shown and set us up for what we were about to see. The movie started out harmless enough. As a 7 year old I could easily identify with the little brown haired girl that the film focuses on. I didn't however, understand why we in the audience could "hear" the strangers voice, but were never allowed to actually see him, except from the waist down. The juxtaposition back and forth between worried adults at home and the scene of the little girls being lead and stalked through the woods were unsettling. I remember the giggles from other kids in the auditorium at the moment when the busybody noisy neighbor runs out of her front door and her boobs are bopping up and down. That scene was laughed and talked about for days. If the film seemed boring in spots, the scene when the film fades to black after the little girl screams in the pipe woke me up real fast. That scene was unsettling to this 7 year old, but NOTHING could have prepared me for the crime scene footage that came afterwards. Odd, because I remember those images coming on the screen and not knowing exactly what I was looking at? It was like I had to piece that image together. Suddenly an older boy behind me said, "those are the girls". Quickly, but like in slow motion, the reality of what I was looking at set in and I became very frightened and very DISTURBED. The film ended and the Police Officer followed up with a reminder. I ran home from school as fast as I could and told my mother what I had seen. I talked and thought about nothing else for weeks. Those crime scene images would NOT LEAVE MY HEAD. I slept on the edge of my parents bed for months. I was unable to sleep alone or be in a room by myself. My mother continually reminded me the importance of "thinking nice thoughts" but to no avail.
As the months wore on I gradually got over the experience. The following year when CHILD MOLESTER was shown yet again in school, I felt prepared and was ready to see what had been lodged in my memory for over a year. After all, I was a year older now, feeling more mature and ready to to see this freak show again. "Could it have really been as horrible as I remembered" ? However, this time, unbeknown to me, my mother had given strict instructions that I was not allowed to see the crime scene footage at the end. Sitting there in anticipation of what was coming next, suddenly a teacher ushered a group of children, to which I was among, out of the auditorium. I felt cheated. That would be the last time the 16mm CHILD MOLESTER was shown in school. Too many parents protested that it was giving their children nightmares and the school quit their yearly run of it.
Over 40 years have passed since I've seen this crummy little film. For years I thought I would never see it again and now here IT IS in all it's campy and irresponsible glory. A film as bad as any film ever made, maybe even worse coming from the paranoid fear of adult filmmakers. Poorly made with narration that is both prejudice and homophobic. To a child, this film gives the impression that EVERY grown up in the world is a potential murderer and child molester. The message of this film is that NO CHILD IS SAFE and that NO ADULT can be trusted. Walk outside of your house, there will be a molester. Go to the movies, there will be a molester. Play in the school yard and there will be a molester. Your next door neighbor or anyone on the street could be a molester and THEY ARE EVERYWHERE in record numbers and parents, teachers and policemen are helpless to do anything. The burden is on the child to protect himself. CHILD MOLESTER is probably the cruelest and most irresponsible instructional film ever made. It is one thing for the producers of HIGHWAY SAFETY FILMS to show teenagers the images of mangled dismembered bodies in auto accidents and quite another to show second graders images of murdered children. It was wrong and a cruel thing to instill fear into children by this means. Shame on all of them for their so called "good intentions". They took a part of wonder that is apart of childhood and instead replaced it with fear at too early of an age. There are other ways of convening the information without scaring and traumatizing children. If I were to ever confront the producer of this film, I'd punch him right in the nose.
My rating is based on the Internet Archive giving viewers the opportunity to see this curiosity mishmash and not for the film itself, which wouldn't grant even half a star.
Subject: MY VIDEO OF CHILD MOLESTER CAUGHT
I can't believe this video at the end. It breaks my heart in so many ways, I always fear from my children all the time and especially when i'm in hollywood at night with my wife there are real bad weirdos out there that just stare at children. I found this video when I was on google trying to see how far my video has gone. I have a video in which we caught a child molester on tape and reported it to the police in which they did nothing. Watch it to completely understand what i'm talking about. It's really creepy. "life as a struggling actor, episode 51".
All this makes me want to become a police officer to make a difference. I couldn't Imagen a world without my children and my family being a victim of this kind of horror, I would go crazy. I could only feel for the families who have gone through this. May god help us all...
Subject: About the movie
I downloaded this movie because my mother was born in 1950. She told me when she came home from school she said law enforcement and the FBI was in her backyard and all around her house. The murders happened on the other side of her backyard. The murders of the 2 little girls happened the previous year. This movie was filmed in Mansfield, Ohio at North Lake Park (Luna Park). From what I can see it was all filmed in Mansfield. The killer was captured that much I know but I do not know what happened to him. His name was Gerald Ray Howell. Any questions or comments feel free to email me and I will try to answer them as best as possible. Larryboy27@gmail.com
Subject: I also saw this film in first grade
This is the first time I've seen this film again since 1966 when I was a first grader. A policeman came to our school and the film was shown in the auditorium--in the morning for first through third graders, and later to fourth through sixth graders. I remember I didn't understand the word on the screen; I thought it was "monster" instead of "molester." Our group wasn't shown the crime photos; the policeman held his hand over the projector lens and I remember everyone turning around to see why we were hearing sound and not seeing anything. When my brother and I got off our school bus, he told me why the officer did that and what had been shown. Of course, I knew the girls had been killed, but I didn't connect the film with actual people; everyone knew these things happened, but this was well before made-for-TV movies and the ABC After-School Specials of the 1970s. There were books (with no graphic images), one's parents and the school systems for safety education. To this day, all those safety films (school bus, drinking and driving, etc.) have an eerie feel to me because of this one film. 1966-1967 was the only year this film was shown in our school system. As for the acting? Most of the people in 1960s and 1970s safety films were volunteers chosen from local communities. I was asked to be in one , but another state was chosen for the production.
Subject: Snuff film teaching
I imagine this film was dramatic for it's day. Shorten the film and it would still be pretty dramatic. There's no doubt that who put this film together considered the problem extremly serious and this would have been more effective than the cartoons about 'stranger danger'.
It's amazing they came right out and said parents were negligent if they didn't teach this to thier child. Pointing fingers at parents was even more taboo then. Still, this film misses the fact that most kids know their molesters (90%).
Subject: Issues with file
Will some one put a mpeg1 file up? the mpeg 4 version wont work for me unless streaming....
Subject: I saw this in first grade
What a trip. I remember the local police department showing this to us in elementary school - I was six. They even had a policeman introduce it. I could understand most of it and it was fairly intense but not too bad . . . until the end. The photos of those two dead girls scared me unlike anything I had ever seen. I couldn't understand exactly what I was seeing. Those images stayed with me though - until I understood. I've always felt that the school could have educated us a little more tactfully. Then again, what is the appropriate age to let kids know the real truth about life? Should things be sugar coated or explained clinically or maybe some combination of the two? Is the fact that I was never abducted proof that the films message helped me? Did the graphic nature of the last scenes affect me negatively? Who knows? I do credit my school for at least trying to keep us safe I just feel there could have been a kinder way of doing it.
Subject: The Real Deal
This would have been just another "Stranger Danger" run of the mill type of films if it were not for the extremly graphic footage at the end of a REAL crime scene in which the bludgened bodies of 2 young girls are shown lying dead on the floor. I can't believe they use to show this film to children. Even with todays current children being exposed to so much extreme violence and sex on TV and in the movies than kids were 50 years ago when this film was made I doubt many of their parents would allow them to be exposed to the real deal as portrayed here (even though they might not think twice about allowing them to watch an R rated shoot em up movie). In my opinion alot of us have been desensitized to violence with all of it we see on a daily basis in the media. Even CNN coverage of the current War in Iraq seems like just another outlet of entertainment for most of us who are so far removed from it. I'll even admit to being one of those people. But I'll tell you, one of the most effective things I saw that really struck a nerve in me and made me take notice of the war again as being a REAL deal was downloading and watching the beheading of an american soilder (Nick Berg I believe his name was) by the Taliban. Sorry to get a little of track there but where I am going with this is that by showing people the REAL DEAL they will stand up and take notice of something they might otherwise brush off as being something far off and removed from them.
Christine Hennig -
Subject: Campy and Disturbing
This early 60s scare film about child molesters starts out pretty campy. It features a guy in the park handing out jelly beans to two little girls, and then inviting them into his car for more, then driving away with them. Now I was a kid back then, and even during those times we were all taught never to take candy from strangers, so you gotta wonder about these kidsÃÂÃÂ parents. An older woman sitting on a park bench eyes the man suspiciously as he drives away with the little girls, but just when you think sheÃÂÃÂs going to write down the carÃÂÃÂs license number, she shakes her head, makes a ÃÂÃÂNaaaaahhhh!!ÃÂÃÂ face, and walks away. I mean come on people!! After that, though, it gets pretty disturbing, as we see the girls being chased through a forest by the man and eventually being caught, while back at home the police are agonizingly slow in their investigations. The eventual point is that parents should teach kids about stranger danger, which is a reasonable point to make (though because of its time, it fails to even mention the fact that most child molesters are known to their victims, rather than strangers). However, the film goes too far to my mind when it shows actual gory footage of the bodies of two little girls who were murdered by a serial killer, a hallmark of the Highway Safety Foundation, the makers of this film. ItÃÂÃÂs one thing to show gory accident victims to cocky teens who are likely to drink and drive, and another to show the bodies of children who were brutally raped and murdered to parents, who probably already have nightmares about such things. I will say, though, that the film does have an impact despite its shoddy production values and horrible acting.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
Subject: Dated? Perhaps. Chilling? Yes.
Having just viewed this film, it's easy to look at it - the beginning, at any rate - and find that campy, dated educational film vibe to be somewhat amusing, but this still hits home.
The clothing is dated, the scenarios are badly acted, sure, but not much less professionaly than some of the televised dramas of that era.
The ending... Well. It's graphic, ugly and factual. It's damn difficult to look at, and that, I think, is as it should be. There's a little ball of ice in the pit of my stomach that's going to take a while to warm back up to body temperature.
It may be somewhat of a period piece, but in the present day when almost all families are either fragmented, or when both parents work and children are slapped silly with the glamourisation of sexuality on a daily basis, this probably would still have merit as tool to educate kids about how to deal with creeps.
I think that it's merits as a present day educational movie may well lie in it's non-glossy, lagged pace and ghost story-like unfolding.
Subject: Still creepy after all these years
I saw this film in school when I was in the third grade, which would've made it circa 1966/67. I recall that before it was shown to the students, it was shown at a special parents' meeting and they voted on whether or not it should be viewed by the kids.
The movie so impressed me back then that I remembered the "hop like a rooster" hopscotch song as soon as the title flashed on the screen when viewing it today. Watching it now, though, I see how stilted the acting is. The producers must've spent their whole budget on the police film footage at the end - the folks they hired to play the parents are beyond awful. As a kid, I didn't understand what a "molester" was from this movie; I thought it was simply someone who murdered children. Watching it as an adult, I see that the sexual predator angle is hinted at, but apparently not expressed clearly enough since it took me 30-odd years to grasp. Of course, this folm was made in 1964, so they could only say so much and still get past the censors.
The final scene, of course, showing the battered bodies of the actual victims, scared the beejeezus out of me in the third grade, and still made me flinch today. Considering they don't even show such graphic portrayals even on "America's Most Wanted" or "American Justice", this is pretty arresting (no pun intended) stuff.
Despite the corny dialogue and wooden performances, I'd bet that this would still be a powerful and useful film to show to kids today to warn them against getting in cars with strangers.
Subject: Strangers with candy
This is a powerful and direct film, unforgettable for its eerieness, honesty, and simplicity. The acting and the technique may seem campy occasionally, but it works. The tape hiss screams for Dolby attention, and this film may actually deserve that kind of care in restoration.
It is told in two parts, the first being an unsettling story of child abduction and parental and neighborhood complacency that was only corrected after it was too late. The second part serves as a coda and explication for the first, giving direct advice to parents and making examples of the characters in the story.
Obviously, the filmmakers don't want you to take any of the this lightly. As such, the second part depicts a seedy suburb that seems to be crawling with predators on every corner. Its view is excessive, but chilling and hopefully mobilizing. It hides little when it comes to telling parents that it's their responsibility to tell their kids the sickening facts.
The ending of this film is probably why it got pulled. In a word, it's horrifying. The story of the first half seemed open-ended enough to put it out of your mind, but the filmmakers unforgettably implant the story into your mind when they tell you it was true.
And they have pictures.
Subject: The Social Guidance film as snuff film..
First off, you have to forgive the horrible sound on this movie. If you can get past that, then The Child Molester is a MUST SEE on this site. All of you may notice that I usually save my "Must Sees" for the end, but "The Child Molester" is REALLY one of the most extraordinary films I have EVER seen.
I will begin with the acting, which mostly doesnt teeter above Ed Wood Territory. All the adults act HORRIBLY. Like my god, where do they GET these people?
A little background of the main story, 2 kids are led away by a stranger who has candy. They are taken to a secluded area, when one of the kids runs away, the stranger says "come with me or I'll kill you now!" when the stranger finds the other kid. The other kid with the stranger breaks free, while the other kid yells "save yourself!" Which is extraordinary, one kid giving up their life to save another, that REALLY caught me off guard. (The other kid does get caught too). (PS, one of the kid's parents reports to the cops with a tea cosy on her head) This all led me to believe that this film was somewhat mistitled, thinking that it should be called "The Child Murderer" as it, up to that point, didn't really mention anything about child molestation. BUT, in the final 1/4 of the film, we see some 'warning signs'... people getting to comfortable in the theater, TOTALLY obvious men in dark glasses hanging in front of schools (this guy really should have a sign around his neck saying "Dangerous" because it's so obvious).
The ending of the film really threw me for a loop. Since this is a Highway Safety Foundation Film, it would'nt end without something really GRAPHIC. And we do get it. We see police footage of a murder scene of 2 girls who were "murdered". the narrator says that this is WHAT HAPPENED TO THE 2 GIRLS WHO APPEARED IN THE FILM!! So, my goodness! It's a snuff film! Well, I hardly think the HSF would go THAT far. But that declaration was far fetched. Also, all of this crime scene footage made me confused, as the dialogue and scenarios made me believe that this was all made for 8 year olds, aka Red Light Green Light: Meeting Strangers. Seeing such a graphic scene would surely turn the kids stomachs.
Sorry for the lengthy review here, but this is an AMAZING film, one which I'm sure will cause a lot of debate, and ranks right up there with the best films I've seen on this site.